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Roll20's Latest Usage Report: D&D Steady, Cthulhu Down!

Roll20 has released it's latest quarterly report -- and has a new format which features less numbers but prettier graphics! Everything is percentages now, rather than absolute numbers.

D&D is in the lead as ever at 52.7% (down 1%), followed by Call of Cthulhu at 11.9% (down 4.4%) then Pathfinder at 3.2% (down 0.2%) (Pathfinder users apparently use Foundry these days). That's a big drop for Cthulhu which has been on a steady rise for the last year or two.




orrreport-2021-q3-in2.jpg


Some systems are called out --
  • Tormenta (Brazilian) rose 45%
  • Vampire the Masquerade rose 500%(!)
  • Powerd by the Apocalypse is up 130%
  • World of Darkness overall is up 550%
  • WFRP is up 50%
  • Modiphius' 2d20 is up 160%
Screen Shot 2021-11-12 at 1.25.13 AM.png
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

teitan

Legend
I got a crash course in Roll20 for my Theros campaign from one of my players. I was able to do what was needed for the time being but overall found it frustrating and counter intuitive. Laying down the grid was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life in trying to get it to line up with the maps pre-drawn grids and sometimes even importing my own, ungridded, maps was a nightmare to get it to work. I spent more time working on that than I did in session prep writing the adventures.
 

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Retreater

Legend
I got a crash course in Roll20 for my Theros campaign from one of my players. I was able to do what was needed for the time being but overall found it frustrating and counter intuitive. Laying down the grid was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life in trying to get it to line up with the maps pre-drawn grids and sometimes even importing my own, ungridded, maps was a nightmare to get it to work. I spent more time working on that than I did in session prep writing the adventures.
The grids took a while to learn, but I got it down to where I can do better than the pro stuff released by WotC in a matter of a few minutes.
 

If this isn’t some privileged talk!
Just FYI the D&D game day from WotC adjusted pricing for certain regions because the tickets for players there were outrageous. Just because a price is affordable to you doesn’t mean it isn’t out of the question for someone else.

These software platforms play in a world market.
Maybe i misunderstand. I believe it was a comparison btw foundry and other platforms.
If not, you are obviously right
 

teitan

Legend
The grids took a while to learn, but I got it down to where I can do better than the pro stuff released by WotC in a matter of a few minutes.
Hey that's awesome. We got back to in person once everyone was vaxxed so it was maybe three months of Roll20. 4 of the five of us had Covid at one point or another. \I had it for five weeks, with Pneumonia, almost didn't make it as there weren't enough beds and my Oxygen levels didn't get low enough but I pulled through with long covid. So we have an extra barrier beyond those vaccines thankfully.
 

Compared to using the free accounts of Roll20 and not buying assets or anything from there (essentially, not paying for it any way) Foundry is much more expensive. Fooundry is way above our options here.
I don't argue with your concept of affordable, because is subjective. But invite you to consider that aside for initial license, foundry quickly become cheaper in usage, both for time saved that for contents available for free. It is a sort of investiment.
 


gss000

Explorer
A few things based on my own experience dealing with incomplete data sets and trying to draw conclusions from them.

It would be really interesting to see truly accurate numbers and breakdowns on a each game system and edition and from all the various online gaming platforms. Roll20s are just done so crazy that getting a real number about anything is just pure speculation.
Yes, it would be nice, but you can still use the data available. If the absolute numbers aren't there, you can look at the trends in the data for a story about how a product is performing. If Roll20 was the only game in town, the story would be really bad for Pathfinder 2e. However, it's not and it's not the only VTT releasing numbers. Fantasy Grounds is releasing reports, too, so we can compare the systems. Its Q4 2020 report - the latest I can find - has PF2 at 6% of games and PF1 at 7% of games played. That's significantly higher than Roll20. However, like Roll20, more people are playing PF1 than PF2. If Foundry is like these other two - an assumption - then there will be more PF1 than PF2 players there.

But how many people are playing on Foundry? Is there a more people there than any other VTT? That question leads us to...

PF2 isn’t as popular as 5E, of course. Nobody is claiming that. That would be absurd. But it is disproportionately more popular on Foundry than on Roll20 due to the quality of the support on that platform.
We know people are playing PF2 on Foundry. We don't know how many or in what proportion. All I've seen so far is people on message boards claiming this is the case. However, people who post on message boards aren't a good source of survey data because they are self-selecting enthusiasts. There may be a lot of silent people who enjoy PF2 or PF1 on Roll20 over Foundry. We can try to calculate that.

I recently found this Reddit thread from May 2020 that has some of the companies reporting numbers. It has an interesting comment from a Foundry official. "The Foundry website recently surpassed 5,400 user registrations - user registration began in April shortly before pre-purchasing. I won't speak to license sales numbers because everyone has a different mental rubric for what it would mean for a project like FVTT to be financially successful, but numbers have exceeded my expectations by this point considering the official release is not until later this month (May 22)." We now know they were starting with a couple thousand registrations.

How much growth could their be? It's qualitative, but let's look at other places with numbers of subscribers and make some assumptions. There are currently is less than 2000 people supporting their patreon, Foundry's Twitter account has 12,000 followers, their Redditt has 28,000 members, and their Discord has 43,000 members. If every person their bought a license, and there is no overlap in subscribers on any of those sites, that's 80,000 people. For fun, let's say all those people play PF2 and no one plays 5E. How does that compare to Roll20? Roll20 just released that 1.5% of the accounts are playing PF2. If they still have 8 million users, that's 120,000 accounts playing PF2, more than my "for fun" estimate.

Another way to look at it is to calculate how many Foundry users there has to be to have more than 120,000 accounts playing PF2. If a quarter of Foundry license holders are playing PF2, then you would need 480,000 Foundry total licenses. If it's double what is playing on Fantasy Grounds, then it's more like a million accounts. I find it unlikely that it has that many subscribers after 1.5 years of operation.

All this to say, while people rightly say PF2 players are using Foundry, I find it difficult to believe that more people are using Foundry than Roll20 until I see some data. License sales would be a great start. Likely, the proportion of Foundry PF2 players is higher than Roll20's. If it follows Fantasy Grounds' trends, then there are likely even more PF1 players than PF2.

Final note: this all doesn't matter as long as you're having fun playing the game you like.
 

A few things based on my own experience dealing with incomplete data sets and trying to draw conclusions from them.


Yes, it would be nice, but you can still use the data available. If the absolute numbers aren't there, you can look at the trends in the data for a story about how a product is performing. If Roll20 was the only game in town, the story would be really bad for Pathfinder 2e. However, it's not and it's not the only VTT releasing numbers. Fantasy Grounds is releasing reports, too, so we can compare the systems. Its Q4 2020 report - the latest I can find - has PF2 at 6% of games and PF1 at 7% of games played. That's significantly higher than Roll20. However, like Roll20, more people are playing PF1 than PF2. If Foundry is like these other two - an assumption - then there will be more PF1 than PF2 players there.

But how many people are playing on Foundry? Is there a more people there than any other VTT? That question leads us to...


We know people are playing PF2 on Foundry. We don't know how many or in what proportion. All I've seen so far is people on message boards claiming this is the case. However, people who post on message boards aren't a good source of survey data because they are self-selecting enthusiasts. There may be a lot of silent people who enjoy PF2 or PF1 on Roll20 over Foundry. We can try to calculate that.

I recently found this Reddit thread from May 2020 that has some of the companies reporting numbers. It has an interesting comment from a Foundry official. "The Foundry website recently surpassed 5,400 user registrations - user registration began in April shortly before pre-purchasing. I won't speak to license sales numbers because everyone has a different mental rubric for what it would mean for a project like FVTT to be financially successful, but numbers have exceeded my expectations by this point considering the official release is not until later this month (May 22)." We now know they were starting with a couple thousand registrations.

How much growth could their be? It's qualitative, but let's look at other places with numbers of subscribers and make some assumptions. There are currently is less than 2000 people supporting their patreon, Foundry's Twitter account has 12,000 followers, their Redditt has 28,000 members, and their Discord has 43,000 members. If every person their bought a license, and there is no overlap in subscribers on any of those sites, that's 80,000 people. For fun, let's say all those people play PF2 and no one plays 5E. How does that compare to Roll20? Roll20 just released that 1.5% of the accounts are playing PF2. If they still have 8 million users, that's 120,000 accounts playing PF2, more than my "for fun" estimate.

Another way to look at it is to calculate how many Foundry users there has to be to have more than 120,000 accounts playing PF2. If a quarter of Foundry license holders are playing PF2, then you would need 480,000 Foundry total licenses. If it's double what is playing on Fantasy Grounds, then it's more like a million accounts. I find it unlikely that it has that many subscribers after 1.5 years of operation.

All this to say, while people rightly say PF2 players are using Foundry, I find it difficult to believe that more people are using Foundry than Roll20 until I see some data. License sales would be a great start. Likely, the proportion of Foundry PF2 players is higher than Roll20's. If it follows Fantasy Grounds' trends, then there are likely even more PF1 players than PF2.

Final note: this all doesn't matter as long as you're having fun playing the game you like.
Interesting way of looking at it. One thing I would note is that you only need one license to run the VTT not one license per game or per player.

You're being pretty generous in your assumptions, so I don't have any issue with your conclusions per se. That said, it'd likely make sense to apply some kind of players per license multiplier to get closer to "total usage". "Reddit * 4" or "Discord * 3" would both put it in competitive territory with Roll20 based on the numbers you've reported.
 

darjr

I crit!
Those sales estimates are welcome. So it might it be entirely wrong that Roll20 numbers, despite it’s lack of favor for many PF 1 and 2 players may still be a decent handle on the larger trend? Maybe?
 

gss000

Explorer
Interesting way of looking at it. One thing I would note is that you only need one license to run the VTT not one license per game or per player.
That's a very good point! I stand corrected.

You're being pretty generous in your assumptions, so I don't have any issue with your conclusions per se. That said, it'd likely make sense to apply some kind of players per license multiplier to get closer to "total usage". "Reddit * 4" or "Discord * 3" would both put it in competitive territory with Roll20 based on the numbers you've reported.
Yes. Another way to handle that is to divide the Roll20 numbers by an average number of players. Say a game on average is four players and a DM. The 120,000 accounts playing PF2 is then 24,000 games. With my generous estimates, if a quarter of Foundry licenses are playing PF2, and each license represents one table, they are just about the same number of games on each site. If double Fantasy Grounds' percentage, then there would only be 9,600 games, or 40% of what Roll20 has. If we ever have license download numbers, we could start making better estimates.

And one flaw of my method is you have to be generous with the assumptions without any additional information, although I'm sure what I did there is too generous. There is likely a good deal of overlap between the subscription/follower services.
 


gss000

Explorer
Those sales estimates are welcome. So it might it be entirely wrong that Roll20 numbers, despite it’s lack of favor for many PF 1 and 2 players may still be a decent handle on the larger trend? Maybe?
Maybe is the best I would say. All I would confidently say is it's not obvious that more people are playing on Foundry. I think if one is a doubter, you'll likely say it's not true more people play on Foundry (I fall in this camp based on what I've seen so far). However, if you are a booster, then this isn't at all ironclad evidence. More information is definitely needed.

And to be clear, this does not indicate whether a) PF2 is a success compared to other games; b) PF2 is doing as well for Paizo as it should at this stage in its life; or c) PF2 is growing, staying the same, or declining in popularity. All those have different answers and this may not even be relevant to that.
 

darjr

I crit!
@gss000 Thanks.

As far as

A) I think there is no doubt that PF2 is a huge success. Especially compared to everything else besides 5e but nothing else can be compared to 5e. Even PF1 success levels compared to 4e was a hurdle of sorts. Even if the play numbers are now lower than PF1.

B) is trickier, but news is that Paizo has hired more staff. So I think it’s at least doing well enough for that.

C) I have no idea. But I think a gander at Pathfinder Infinite might help with that, but only tangentially. And not concretely.
 
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That's a very good point! I stand corrected.


Yes. Another way to handle that is to divide the Roll20 numbers by an average number of players. Say a game on average is four players and a DM. The 120,000 accounts playing PF2 is then 24,000 games. With my generous estimates, if a quarter of Foundry licenses are playing PF2, and each license represents one table, they are just about the same number of games on each site. If double Fantasy Grounds' percentage, then there would only be 9,600 games, or 40% of what Roll20 has. If we ever have license download numbers, we could start making better estimates.

And one flaw of my method is you have to be generous with the assumptions without any additional information, although I'm sure what I did there is too generous. There is likely a good deal of overlap between the subscription/follower services.
I did find another interesting data point. The Forge (one of Foundry's common hosting solutions) includes some data on "Systems" installs on their site, specifically, % of games with the system installed.

So grains of salt as it relates to data sourcing, completeness etc. and it says nothing at all about the overall size of the player base. With that in mind... the number one installed game system is 5e at 77%. The number 2 is PF2e at 17% followed by Warhammer FRP, PF1, Savage Worlds, and Call of Cthulhu with a little over 5% each.

Since it seems to be possible to install multiple systems in a single game (or they're employing sorcerers that allow the total percentages to get past 100), it doesn't make sense to look at this as parts of a whole. But, it looks like there might be a story tell in how these systems relate to each other.

5e is installed 5x as often as Pf2e which is installed 3x as often as PF1.

Ir might not be possible to make the case that "all the 2e players are using Foundry", but there is some evidence 2e enjoys a stronger following there.
 
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We also have some statistics from Fantasy Grounds, which shows PF2 largely rising alongside PF1 games and being way closer compared to Roll20.

Popular_Games_excluding_DND.jpg


Obviously this is a bit behind, but at the least we have a way better idea of the actual numbers behind things. If you want to include D&D 5E in there, throws off the chart a bit but it's still instructive.

Top10_Games_Trend.jpg


I do wonder what their 2021 statistics will look like
 


AtomicPope

Adventurer
I really like Cthulhu games but they're like board games in that they're designed to kick players out and end. So a Cthulhu campaign isn't like other RPG campaigns. There are times when the campaign is over, the PCs are insane or dead, and everyone is thinking about the next character or game.
 

gss000

Explorer
I did find another interesting data point. The Forge (one of Foundry's common hosting solutions) includes some data on "Systems" installs on their site, specifically, % of games with the system installed.

So grains of salt as it relates to data sourcing, completeness etc. and it says nothing at all about the overall size of the player base. With that in mind... the number one installed game system is 5e at 77%. The number 2 is PF2e at 17% followed by Warhammer FRP, PF1, Savage Worlds, and Call of Cthulhu with a little over 5% each.
That's really interesting! Thanks for finding that. Do you have a link? Do they send out updates regularly?

Since it seems to be possible to install multiple systems in a single game (or they're employing sorcerers that allow the total percentages to get past 100), it doesn't make sense to look at this as parts of a whole. But, it looks like there might be a story tell in how these systems relate to each other.

5e is installed 5x as often as Pf2e which is installed 3x as often as PF1.

Ir might not be possible to make the case that "all the 2e players are using Foundry", but there is some evidence 2e enjoys a stronger following there.
Yes, this is actually a game changer for a lot of reason. First, until this, the only VTTs that I knew published table numbers (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds) had PF2 lagging PF1 use. One could argue that there was evidence that PF1 players were still not moving to PF2. There's now a case to say that's wrong. One instance isn't definitive, but it's not something to ignore. Second, as you said, there could be a stronger showing over at Foundry. With a VTT showing 17% of tables playing PF2, it's not a stretch to think if Foundry is as popular as people are saying, there could be 20 -25% of tables playing it. That is less a generous estimate to a potentially reasonable one.
 

gss000

Explorer
We also have some statistics from Fantasy Grounds, which shows PF2 largely rising alongside PF1 games and being way closer compared to Roll20.

Obviously this is a bit behind, but at the least we have a way better idea of the actual numbers behind things. If you want to include D&D 5E in there, throws off the chart a bit but it's still instructive.

I do wonder what their 2021 statistics will look like
Yes! It was why I was more pessimistic in my PF2 outlook - it confirmed certain cases from the Roll20 numbers like more people are still playing PF1 than PF2.

If they release 2021 numbers, I'll be watching to see whether PF2 will ever overtake PF1 consistently.
 

That's really interesting! Thanks for finding that. Do you have a link? Do they send out updates regularly?


Yes, this is actually a game changer for a lot of reason. First, until this, the only VTTs that I knew published table numbers (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds) had PF2 lagging PF1 use. One could argue that there was evidence that PF1 players were still not moving to PF2. There's now a case to say that's wrong. One instance isn't definitive, but it's not something to ignore. Second, as you said, there could be a stronger showing over at Foundry. With a VTT showing 17% of tables playing PF2, it's not a stretch to think if Foundry is as popular as people are saying, there could be 20 -25% of tables playing it. That is less a generous estimate to a potentially reasonable one.
Forge "Systems" page

The percentages are included in the statistics when you click on the system. No idea regarding how that updates.
 

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